I use the term ‘tea and cake’ broadly here. What I actually mean is… a delicious cup of something plus some fabulous sweet treats to go alongside.
Last week was ‘Afternoon Tea Week’ in the UK (perhaps elsewhere too?) and I’ve been reading many a post on grand afternoon teas around the country serving up infinite finger sandwiches, scones and cakes on a towering stand alongside endless cups of tea. But, what about the not-so-grand affair of a mid-afternoon (or mid-morning even) cup of tea with a slice of cake. This is the everyday kind of afternoon tea that I’m almost certain everyone partakes in.
Now, I have a few locations back home that I just have to visit again and again. There’s something so lovely about catching up with friends and family over food after months of being apart. I love the yearly ritual of finding a cosy spot inside a cafe in winter or a sunny garden in the summer and talking and talking until all the tea is gone. Plus, there’s cake and my life isn’t complete without cake!
The following are all local to Cambridge, so you’ll have to make a trip to my beautiful city if you want to get your hands on these goodies! Luckily Cambridge is fab so it’s not really a hardship.
UPDATE: Afternoon Tease is now closed *crying face*. The owner still makes cakes to order and does supper clubs, but sadly her cafe is no more.
Afternoon Tease is probably one of my most visited spots in Cambridge. They serve such amazingly delicious cakes (always including a gluten free version), alongside fabulous sandwiches, crumpets and other wonderful treats.
My favourite cakes have to be the pistachio and lemon (gluten free), the Guinness and chocolate, and the pear and brown sugar bundt. So much sweet goodness presented on mismatched china, with fresh flowers on every table, and sugar provided in treacle tins. Plus, if you order tea for two, it comes in a gorgeous vintage china tea pot. I flippin’ love it here.
Also, follow their Instagram if you want to be tempted by their delicious selection of food!
13 King Street, Cambridge, CB1 1LH
Aromi is a Cambridge only chain and sells the most fabulous Italian food. Think flatbread pizzas, pasta, lasagna, incredible gelato and giant arancini.
However, they also make the best hot chocolate in Cambridge (not pictured) that’s thick and dark and deliciously creamy. Have it served with whipped cream on top and choose from a selection of delicious sweet treats on the side. The cheesecake is insane and these darling little tarts are a delight, filled with pistachio or chocolate/hazlenut. It makes for a fantastic afternoon treat during a day out in the city.
If it’s summer then I can highly recommend their chocolate and/or pistachio gelato as an alternative afternoon tea if a hot chocolate doesn’t feel right!
1 Bene’t Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QN
The Orchard Tea Garden is just outside the city of Cambridge in the picturesque village of Grantchester. You can even take a (long) stroll along the river from the city centre to the tea gardens, which is absolutely stunning or you can drive out there instead. Whichever floats your boat.
The gardens within the orchard are a little spring/summer haven for relaxing in deckchairs surrounded by trees (and in the late summer, our delightful wasp friends…) and sipping on glasses of Pimms (about as British as an afternoon tea!) and devouring homemade cakes and scones. Now, tea and coffee is obviously available but I can’t resist a glass of Pimms in the summer filled with fresh fruit and ice to cool you down.
I would advise taking a little walk through the meadows next door afterwards to walk off all that yummy cake….
47 Mill Way, Grantchester, Cambridge, CB3 9ND
Two words guys. Doughnut Fridays.
This delicatessen is a new find for me (thanks Mum!), and it was love at first bite. Every Friday at 10.30am they put out a tray of fresh house made doughnuts. They come with different flavoured fillings every week (only one a week) so you need to go back again and again to try them all! (Apparently last week was a savoury special of duck and hoisin. I’m dying.) They are seriously good, but if doughnuts are not your thing, or perhaps you can’t eat them, then they also have a fabulous selection of cakes and traybakes to suit everyone. There are gluten free options and also a wide selection of breads baked by Dovecote Bakery (these guys also supply Afternoon Tease and make the buns for Steak and Honour burgers so you know they’re great).
As the Deli part of the name suggests they also sell plenty of other groceries. Vegetables, beers, cheese, chocolates, and pasta to name but a few. And freshly made salads, pies, tagines etc. that have all been made in the on-site kitchen….need I go on.
You have to get out here, whether it be for Doughnut Friday or not.
8a Woollards Lane, Great Shelford CB22 5LZ
Lastly, I must mention Fitzbillies. I have never actually sat inside to eat here, but I have had many a take away baked good from here, including their famous Chelsea Buns. My brother’s girlfriend used to work here so we occasionally had delicious treats on a Sunday evening which our family happily devoured! Fitzbillies has been here in Cambridge since 1921 selling their traditional Chelsea Buns, so they’re definitely famous for a reason. Look at how sticky they are…..
Plus, in the Trumpington St branch they also have a restaurant and in the Bridge St branch sandwiches and salads are available too, which means there’s always something savoury to balance out the sweet, stickiness of those buns!
51-52 Trumpington St, Cambridge, CB2 1RG
36 Bridge St, Cambridge, CB2 1UW
I hope you enjoyed this little roundup of sweetness and if you have any other recommendations of great places in Cambridge for tea and cake, please leave a comment below!